Giving Up The Dummy: 10 Tricks To Try

Giving Up The Dummy: 10 Tricks To Try
14 May 2016

No parent starts out intending for their baby to become dependent on a dummy. But when you find yourself with a toddler who simply won't be easily parted from a dummy, working out how to wean them off it can be a source of unimaginable stress.

So we've researched the options for you and have the definitive guide to persuading your tot to part with her dummy.

1. Wait until your child wean themselves off their dummy
I had pretty much decided to take this approach but a routine dental appointment highlighted that my daughter's teeth were already showing signs of being affected by her dummy which - at 2.5yrs old - she showed no signs of wanting to give up.

No big deal, the dentist assured me - the problems will only really start if she's still using a dummy by the time her big teeth arrive. So if you decide to put off ditching the dummy until your child seems 'ready' to give it up of her own accord that's ok - but it's probably worth getting your dentist to take a look at her teeth to make sure all is a-ok. I am reliably informed by parents who've opted for this approach that no kid still wants a dummy when they're starting high school…

2. Give it to the dummy fairy
Loads of parents swear by this cunning trick, which seems to involve coaxing your child into handing her dummy over to a distant relative of the tooth fairy, who takes it when you child is sleeping to a baby who hasn't got a dummy of her own, and leaves a present for your little one in its place. I'm told it works well but my kid is way too canny for this - when I floated the notion of gifting her dummy to the dummy fairy she coolly pointed out that we could just buy the other baby a brand new one and give *that* to the dummy fairy.

3. Plant a dummy tree
I can't see this idea doing anything except traumatising a child but a friend tells me it's commonplace to 'plant' a child's dummy in the garden when it's time to give it up. In its place your child will find a lollipop or some other delicious treat in the morning - but I can't help thinking my dummy-loving daughter would be outside in the dead of night digging up the garden to get her precious 'do-do' back!

4. Give it to Santa
This one's clever - you leave the dummy for Santa to collect and in its place is the stocking full of pressies - because at least at Christmas there are loads of toys and treats around to help distract your little one if she struggles to adjust to life without her dummy. I once heard someone describe a child going cold-turkey from dummy use as not far off a portrayal of Renton in Trainspotting - and that's got to be a little easier to contain at Christmas than on your average normal day at home.

5. Hang it on the dummy tree
You tie the dummy to a tree to be collected by the birds who need it for their nest. Again, what's to stop a determined toddler from climbing the tree to get it back, I'm not too sure, but I've got friends who say this worked really well. If the birdies can leave a little thank you gift in place of the dummy, so much the better.

6. Read books together about giving up a dummy
The Last Noo Noo by Jill Murphy is a cracker and
Florrie the Dummy Fairy is worth a try if you plan on doing the whole fairy 'thing'. I especially like I Want My Dummy for a reluctant dummy-quitter, and the Bea Gives Up Her Dummy and Ben Gives Up His Dummy books are also lovely.

7. Cut the dummy
Snip the end off the dummy so that it loses its appeal. I couldn't bring myself to try this but friends swear by it and reckon it's preferable to taking the dummy away altogether - apparently when a little one doesn't feel deprived but simply doesn't want the dummy in the state it's offered, the tears and mayhem are considerably reduced.

8. 'Lose' the dummy
When my daughter's dummy dependence was at its peak I found I was afraid to leave the house without one - so I couldn't see this working in my house but 'losing' the dummy works well for some and is another option to consider if you don't like the idea of your child feeling the dummy has been forcibly removed from them.

9. Ditch the dummy gradually
Start by reducing dummy use. If your little one has it all day, begin weaning her off it by gradually restricting its use to certain times of day, reducing that until it's only allowed at bedtime or during naps. Once you've cracked that, removing the dummy once your child falls asleep should help get her off it altogether. At least that's the theory.

10. Go cold turkey
Depending on your child's age and their level of understanding, it might be appropriate to just explain that it's time to say bye bye to the binky. Be ready to offer lots of emotional support and extra cuddles if it takes a while for your child to adjust, and offer a transitional object in place of the dummy for extra comfort.

77 comments

  • Amzzzz

    do you have any tips on the milk  bottle iv tried to stop my 3 and half she grabs on to her younger sis botle in the night , iv tried a straw cup everything she will just go in to tears in the night and literally wake her other 2 children to avoid this i sometime just give in and let her have her sisters bottle . I did tempt her with the milk fairy whos going to give a gift if she leaves the bottle but it wore of no luck could do with some advise please

    • karent

      my wee boy at 4yrs old was very attached to his btl of milk at bed time. waited till we went on summer holiday to scarborough and told him they dont have milk here end of story. he did beg a few nights but was so knackerd frm holiday days out he didnt take long to fall asleep . was happy without it once week was over and we got home xx

    • Skylarke

      let her have her own bottle before bed. My daughter eventually weaned herself off her bottle. Her teeth were not harmed and she was happy and would sleep much better. This was the only bottle she wanted during the day and to me was such a small battle it wasn't worth it. Children are little for such a short time that I let her be little a little longer xxx

    • Nizwiz

      You could try and just say that bottles are for babies and if she wants a bottle like a baby she will be treat like one.... early bed, only baby appropriate activities 

  • Penny B.

    Santa traded dummy for Xmas pressies and cheaky rudolf ate them :astonished::joy:

    • Helen M.

      Snap!

    • Penny B.

      Lol, so much easier on the kids and our ears!!! As soon as they asked for it I reminded them "Santa has it now, but he did give you a lovely present for being a big girl/boy" no tears, no sad or sleepless kiddy either. Its not a mean trick, its just to help them get past that crutch.

      Plus, I had my dummy til I was FOUR (I know!!!!) and clearly remember mum telling me I'm too old for it, so she took it, put it in the bin and threw yesterdays potato pealing's all over it...yet I still dug it out :laughing: I was devastated at the loss of my dummy, so sucked my thumb instead which actually did more harm than the dummy. I ended up with one thumb longer than the other, a major overbite and braces for two years, followed by a retainer for 4 years. That's 6 years of pain :sob: na...i'll just "trick" my kids into releasing the dummy and not have any side effects other than the amusing photo and Santa has also delivered two baubles with the dummies in...:joy: couldn't resist!

  • Jill G.

    Mine gave it up himself at 10 months he took it out of his mouth looked at it and said no and throw it to the ground

  • Georgina S.

    I just decided one day to take it away completely, was hard work the first day by ever since she's been fine :)

  • Gemma P.

    I just didn't give my little girl hers. Few tears at nap times for first few times but just didn't ever give her it back. There's no tricks needed really. Just once u say no u need to stick by it. X

  • Lindsey R.

    My little girl loved her dummy. We lost the last one whilst out one day and I decided not to buy another. She asked for it for a couple of days and I just said it was lost which it was, I couldn't have lied if it wasn't. She soon forgot about it and that was that.

    • Caroline F.

      We did that.. She had 3 and burst them one by one and I told her to put them in the bin they were broken... She never asked for one again... She had just turned 2 x

    • Emma G.

      I did exactly the same with my 2. Both only asked for it once! It's the parent that worries over the dummy more than the child!

    • Lindsey R.

      i thought it was going to be a nightmare and it was easy! Just don't give in.

  • Leanne B.

    I took my sons away at 8 months old. He's 19 months and not had one since.

  • Lynsey M.

    "Forget" to bring it with you on holiday. By the end of the week they are over it. Just make sure you have got rid of any rogue dummies leftover for when you come home. Superman took my nephews and swapped it for a superman outfit. That also worked.

  • James V.

    Top tip... Throw it away

  • Samantha B.

    I think we've cracked it (((: xx I'll have a read night 2 no dummy he didn't ask for it today either no melt downs

  • Iona M.

    One night before my daughters 1st birthday I took the dummy away from her and didn't give it back. Yes the 1st 2 nights were long but come the 3rd night she didn't even look for it and hasn't since. she's 2yrs old in 2wks and still dummy free.

  • Samantha B.

    We went cold turkey!! Xx

  • Vicky O.

    I took them.off my 2 year old because his 11 months old.brother refused them all of a sudden , told him no more dummies and that was that neither of them.cried or asked for them

  • Karen L.

    I was one of the mummy's that I thought I would let me son give it up when he wanted to and he did it a month before his 5th birthday. We still had couple of moments where he sat and broke his heart telling me that he just loved his dummy so much and cuddling me didn't feel the same :broken_heart:

  • Angie T.

    We had spiderman come to my sons 4th birthday who took them away in exchange for a spiderman teddy. It was hard the first few days but hes fine now. Definatly will do it earlier with my youngest. I think the earlier the better xx

  • James V.

    She won't know she wants one if she doesn't see one around to remind her

  • Emma K.

    My just gone 2 year old only gets hers at nap time and bed time. I'm planning on giving it to santa at Christmas.

  • Vicky L.

    I wrote my own story about the dummy fairy, tailored it to my girls like where they Would keep dummies in the day ect. I read the story for about 2 weeks) Then the night the dummy fairies were coming I left a special note (just like in the story) with a bag and magic glitter. For when they got out the bath. We did as the story said and in the morning there was a surprise. The surprise was one of these night torch light things so something to use at night. Both my girls were amazing

  • Kate R.

    I took my little boy to toys r us, explained that he could pick something to take to bed instead of a dummy as he was a big boy now. He totally forgot about it and the new toy in bed was a distraction x

  • Helen B.

    My poor 18 month old didn't have much choice! She suddenly started chomping holes in them (brand new dummies) from how her teeth were coming in so I wasn't risking her biting through and choking on one...and just binned the lot! Cold turkey, mean mummy...she's currently teething like made and had a viral infection but still dummy free and not been signalling she wants one...she's my little :star: but if they this age or younger then I defo recommend just taking them away! Can't reason with them, hard at first but defo the way forward for us xx

  • Alan M.

    With my daughter we told her she was too old for a dummy now and to leave it under her pillow on xmas eve and father christmas would take it when he leaves her presents. Worked fine. With my son he's a thumb sucker and never used a dummy.

  • Vicky L.

    Ive have tried every one of theae and my daughter will not give it up, at this very moment in time i cannot find one and she is screaming refusing to go to sleep #toughtimes :confused:

    • Claire B.

      Don't bother, mine was a lot older when he gave it up and he chose to himself, nothing wrong with teeth & he's not mentally scarred by it, choose your battles I say X

    • Nikki H.

      I'm always curious why mums (or dad's) want to get them off the dummy. My boy doesn't use one so I've no experience. I guess if they can't replace it themselves at night it could mean more getting up to help. That would be a good reason to stop, not sure I'd bother trying to stop it otherwise.

  • Diane S.

    We talked to our 3 year old for a good few months about handing her dody over to Santa, he even mentioned it in his letter to her! Half of me never thought she would give them up so easily but come 21st December last year we told her she was going to see Santa, she collected up her dody's and popped them all into a zip lock bag! Sure enough we saw Santa and she have him the bag!!! We had a couple of days of wanting the dody but that was it she's not had one since! Was so proud of her :heartpulse: I forgot to eat she only had it for sleep/bedtime - x

  • Gemma K.

    Don't plug one in in the first place?? :joy:

  • Gayle T.

    I told my then 2 1/2 year old that the dog ate his dummy.... He was disgusted... He only asked for it twice and both times I said yuk it's in Billy's tummy and he laughed and said yuk... It worked!!! I did wean him before hand though to just bed times and when he asked during the day I distracted him :)

  • Faith T.

    Out of my 4 little ladies only my 1st 2 had them even though I offered them all! The dummy fairy took them when I felt it was the right time for each one. My younger 2 are finger/ thumb suckers and I've no idea how to stop that!!!!

    • Victoria B.

      I'm 29 this month and still suck my thumb, can't sleep without it lol tried everything, don't make a big deal out of it. Sure that made me worse.

  • Sue M.

    I went to put my daughter to bed one night, and do you think i could find one. I got my daughter to help me look but we couldnt find any. I said to her she will have to go sleeps without it and we would have a proper look the following day. She went to sleep fine and never had one again..i was very lucky x

  • Louise S.

    Only a month ago now, chopped the sucking bit off the dummy. Showed it our 2.5 year old who had a massive melt down. But in the afternoon when he asked for it I reminded him it was broken and he said yes broken. His dad asked him if he wanted it at bedtime and he gave it back saying, no don't like it. Never heard a peep out of him again all night. Has only asked a few times and still have the broken dummy and he isn't bothered at all. Could not believe how easy it was in the end. Just go for it, they are all different and it's only for our peace and sanity that we let them have them but they soon get over it.

  • Clair H.

    My daughter never had one, so didn't have a problem.

  • Gemma H.

    We weaned off in the day about 16 months and at 18 months we stopped giving it at nap times in the day to start off with, then stopped at night too after a few more weeks. He seemed ready and we only knew that because hed fall asleep in the car without one. Hes not asked for one since, but he will have a cheeky suck on my nieces doll's dummy when he thinks we arent looking :joy:

    • Nikki H.

      A great approach, just take your time and follow their lead. I try to do this with most things, keeps everyone happier!

  • Danielle M.

    I have two thumb suckers :cry: any tips? My 4 year old drives me insane, it's become a habit now and I sometimes don't think he even know he is doing it

    • Cheryl W.

      My friend wrapped micropore around thumbs each night. Lo didn't like texture and didn't want to suck thumb. Did for couple of wks and seemed to get him out of habit

  • Shelley H.

    This was an interesting read! My daughter had a dummy and we took it away at 2. From about 7 months she only ever had it for sleep, never for play. We did the dummy fairy thing. To be honest, I don't think she really fully understood but after a couple of nights of crying at bedtime we didn't look back! If I talk to her about her dummy now, she says she doesn't remember! She has just turned 5.

  • May D.

    I tried everything my girl is nearly 5 and she will not give it up at bed time she woke up at 4 this morn screaming coz she couldn't find it. Even the dentist said her teeth are pushing back and that's still not done anything. X

  • Tracey J.

    I took my son's dummy away cold turkey at 7 months (I know, how mean!)....but he was tired and cranky (as was I) from not getting the restorative sleep at night due to the dreaded dummy run 8+ times a night. In the end it was fairly easy - 2 nights of fuss lasting about 45 mins on each night and that was it. If the dummy causes more problems than it solves, get rid of it.....that's my tuppence worth!

    • Anna C.

      Exactly the same experience we had! I had to take my son's away at 7 months when he got a cold and couldn't breathe with the dummy in due to a blocked nose. It was much easier than I thought, 1 night of crying for an hour (with me going in regularly) then he didn't seem bothered after that! He's sleeping a million times better without it whereas he was waking up for the dummy every 1-2 hours before, so glad we took it away xx

    • Steph S.

      I had the exact experience at 9 months and he has slept better since

  • Sarah C.

    My 2 year old had a visit from the dummy fairy 5 weeks ago, only had it for nap time and bedtime. OMG absolute hell, haven't given in. I suppose she gets her stubbornness from me!

  • Lynne H.

    I'm a number 1er, life's too short! :joy::see_no_evil:

  • Samantha D.

    My daughter was 2 on the 2nd May, on the 3rd it was gone and she hasnt had it since was so easy changed all bottles to beakers next to tackle the potty training now tips on that will be very much apriciated

  • Lisa K.

    Never had any issues as soon as she didn't need them anymore we posted them to Santa so he would come and see her at Xmas because she was being extra good

  • Steven B.

    That sounds good

  • Natalie W.

    I used my sons fav thing at the time to get rid of his dummy, 18 months old he threw his dummy out the window so the dust men can put it in their truck. If he asked me for it after that, I reminded him he gave it to the tractor man. Lasted a couple days and never made a fuss. Not hAd to do anything with my second son, he is 13 months now and still never had a dummy, hated them xx

  • Ang M.

    Don't give one in the first place

  • Melissa S.

    We have just done this. Gave (them) 2 the dummy fairy. She left a note saying Santa had sent her, she also left 3 power rangers and it said in her note that if he could go to sleep from now on she would bring him the other 1. Only took 1 night of unsettlement but we are now dummy free. :smiley:

  • Stephen H.

    Get someone else to get rid of the dummy like granny and grandad. Worked for us

  • Pam G.

    We did number 7 at 18 months.

  • Stephanie O.

    My friend had my son forgot about his dummy and he slept the nite i threw away once he was home and never had one since

  • Emma L.

    At 1 year and 3 months, I told my son he was a big boy and no longer needed his dummy. I said 'come on help mommy bin them' and he did. And that was that. I was obviously very lucky !

  • Louise J.

    We took my eldest to the dentist when she was 2 and they said it's making her teeth poorly she didn't put in her mouth again and we have just taken my youngest to the dentist as she knocked her tooth out and they said the same thing to her... She doesn't have it at all during the day but still has it at night. But once she's fallen asleep she spits it out anyway. We tried cold turkey but my lord it was awful she's very stubborn and just wouldn't stop screaming!! Glad they listen to the dentist tho.

  • Sonja M.

    Don't give one in the first place!! I have 3 children and none have had dummies carrier blankies or sucked their thumbs! I don't see why it's become a necessity to have a dummy!!

    • Zoe C.

      there lots off reason acid probs feeding probs my son was very poorly at 2 mntys old and that why he got one just coz u think yer mum off the year wi my son a dimmy was the last off my problems and shocker hes 4 and still as it for bed does it bother me nope does he need it nope is he happy yes all that matter and ps nothing wrong wi his teeth x

    • Sonja M.

      I do agree that some children need them but the baby books that list the essentials for your hospital bag have dummy's on how would you know when your baby is only hours old that they "need" a dummy!

    • Harpreet C.

      A dummy you can take away! How are you going to stop them from sucking their thumb?

    • Nina F.

      Medical reason my lg has hers and recently been told she might possibly have it at age 3... If it helps her regulate her breathing I'm all for it and don't care what people think :ok_hand_tone1:

  • Maeve C.

    He didn't make much of a fuss when we took it away, he just didn't like the fact he had to go to bed at a certain time lol x

  • Samantha H.

    I did the father Christmas one with my twin boys and my little girl just stopped asking for it at one

  • Lsharp

    My 3 year old son is on the autism spectrum and we are struggling with losing the dummy. Has anyone else got experience in this and can anyone give some advice please ? Thank you x

  • Lsharp

    My 3 year old son is on the autism spectrum and we are struggling to lose the dummy. Does anyone have any experience in this or any advice ? Thank you x

  • Mandy M.

    No 1 for us. Really can't stand all these "experts" that come up to my little boy and tell him he doesn't want a dummy. Yes he does and he can have one till hes ready to give it up. I've had his teeth checked and he's fine. What's the problem?

    • Deborah S.

      Entirely agree. Dentist even told me dummy was fine to use - better than thumb as they cause real problems.

    • Steph S.

      Dummies aren't actually considered problems with teeth so much anymore. Can just effect there speech if in there mouth all the time. It's bottles that are bad for teeth after 12 months now

  • Sarah H.

    I can't believe how easy it's been really!

  • Jade C.

    We went to a Chris tingle service at our local church on Christmas Eve. We wrapped up my daughters dummies (not our whole collection but a few) she then left them as a present for baby jesus like the wise men do. With it being Christmas eve it was easy to get her to sleep without it as santa was coming, then Christmas day night she was so tired that she just fell asleep, and that was that. She never asked for it again. She was 3 at the time so she understood more than a younger children would. But it worked for us. I never thought it would, she was addicted to her dummy and had them stashed all over but it did.

  • Amanda N.

    Cold turkey at 2.5 years.

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